Concord Band Logo The Concord Band
Box 302, Concord, MA 01742
Tel: 978-897-9969

Notes from the Concord Band

Notes from the Concord Band
Since 1959 P.O. Box 302, Concord MA 01742 Fall 2000


Thomas J. McGah

Band to Premier Work by Thomas J. McGah

The Concord Band will be presenting the world premier of Boston composer Thomas J. McGah's newest work for concert Band, Suite of Irish Folksongs, at its upcoming fall Concert on October 28th. This suite is a five movement work based on Irish folksongs, some well known, others much less so. The five songs are "The Kerry Dance," "Cockles and Mussels," "O'Donnell Aboo!," "My Lagan Love," and "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye." In 1996, the Concord Band commissioned McGah to compose a work for narrator and band titled Reflections of Emerson which was premiered by the band at 51 Walden in Concord on March 2, 1996 with Peter Ross as narrator. The band also performed this work at the 1996 Boston Festival of Bands. In 1998, McGah was commissioned to compose Sunsets for soprano and band in memory of Carol Burdine, daughter of Bill and Nancy Burdine. This work was premiered at 51 Walden on November 7, 1998 with Donna Kearney as soprano soloist.


William G. McManus
Music Director

Fall Concert

Saturday, October 28, 8:00pm

The Concord Band will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of America's greatest composers, Aaron Copland, at its Fall Concert at 51 Walden Street in Concord.

The concert will open with a performance of Charles Carter's Overture for Winds which was composed by Carter in 1959. Charles Carter majored in composition at the Eastman School of Music In Rochester, New York, and went on to become the arranger for the Ohio University marching band and the Florida State University bands. He has published numerous works for concert band.

Oboist Vanessa René will be featured in a performance of Autumn Soliloquy by James Barnes. This composition is a single movement work with an extended oboe cadenza. This will be Vanessa's first appearance as a soloist with the Band (see related article on page 2).

The first half of the concert will close with the premier performance of Thomas J. McGah's newest work for concert band, Suite of Irish Folk Songs. McGah has dedicated his Suite to Concord Band Music Director, Dr. William McManus, surprising Dr. McManus with a copy of the score late in the Summer. Mr. McGah composed this work during a recent sabbatical from Berklee College of Music, where he is a professor of composition (see related article).

In honor of Copland's centennial, the Band will devote the entire second half of the concert to the composer's music. Aaron Copland, born in Brooklyn, New York in 1900, is recognized as one of the most important composers of the 20th century. His works for theater, ballet, and his symphonic works are performed by major orchestras throughout the world. Compositions such as Appalachian Spring, Rodeo, Billy the Kid, El Salon Mexico, and his 3rd Symphony are part of the standard orchestral repertoire.

The band will perform four of Copland's compositions. Copland's An Outdoor Overture, composed for orchestra in 1938 and transcribed soon thereafter for band by the composer. The "outdoor" in the title stems from the spacious chordal writing and the very high and very low sonorities throughout. Copland said he wanted to make this piece sound "optimistic" and "youthful in spirit."

Down a Country Lane is a lovely simple piece with a gentle, pastoral quality. Composed for orchestra by Copland in 1962, this piece was transcribed for band by Merlin Patterson in 1991.

Variations on a Shaker Melody is a set of five variations on the Shaker melody "Simple Gifts." This work is an excerpt from the composer's score to the ballet Appalachian Spring and was scored for band by the composer.

The concert will close with a performance of Lincoln Portrait, a tribute to America's 16th President. In this work, Copland combines the words of Abraham Lincoln with his own musical ideas to create a powerful composition. Belmont resident and former radio personality, Peter Ross, will serve as narrator. This will be Mr. Ross' second speaking role with the Band.


Vanessa René
Oboe Soloist

Vanessa René, Oboe Soloist

Concord Band oboist Vanessa René will make her first solo appearance with the Concord Band at the Band's Fall Concert on October 28th, performing Autumn Soliloquy by James Barnes. Vanessa, a member of the Band since 1989, began playing oboe at age 13. She has been principal oboe of the Chelmsford Community Band since 1978 and has performed with the Yankee Winds, the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra, the Quincy Symphony, the Laite Concert Winds, and the Bedford Chorale. Vanessa has also played in pit orchestras for several Exit Stage Right Company productions. Vanessa lives in Lowell with her husband Larry and their three children, Katie, David, and Emily. Katie René was the winner of the 1998 Concord Band Young Artist Competition and is now attending Hartt College of Music in Hartford, where she is majoring in music education.


Phil Wilson
Guest Artist

Awards Banquet

The Concord Band held its first ever Awards Banquet on Saturday evening, September 23rd at the Radisson Hotel in Marlboro. This very special event provided an opportunity for Band members to enjoy a social evening together and to be recognized for their contributions to the Band. Members received certificates in recognition of a number of aspects of their participation in the Band. More than 40 were honored for their years of membership in the Band. One founding member still plays with the Band on a full-time basis. Other Band members were recognized for outstanding service to the Band or for solo appearances with the Band. A number of Band members also received special "superlative" awards. World famous jazz trombonist Phil Wilson, a soloist with the Band in 1996, was the guest speaker for the event. A great time was had by all.


Trivial? Not Entirely!

Do you enjoy the pursuit of trivia? Here's a draft of the Concord Band trivia card deck. Answers (and best guesses) are at the end of this article.

  1. Which composer's music has been played most often by the Concord Band?
  2. How many members were in the Concord Band in its first year?
  3. How many pieces of music does the Concord Band play in a typical year?
  4. How many pieces has the Concord Band played since it was formed in 1959?
  5. How many times has the Concord Band played Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever?
  6. When did the Concord Band play its first commissioned piece of music?
  7. How many pieces have been premiered by the Concord Band?
  8. When did the Concord Band make its first distributed recording?
  9. How many discs has the Concord Band recorded?
  10. What was the artist doing while designing the Concord Band's logo?
  11. In what year did the Concord Band cease marching and become a strictly concert organization?
  12. What is the greatest distance a member of the Concord Band travels from home each week to rehearse at 51 Walden?
  13. How many people have visited the Concord Band Web Site?
  14. How many professional video recordings have been made of the Concord Band?
  15. How many concerts has the Concord Band played at its summer home at Fruitlands Museums in Harvard?
  16. How many copies of the Concord Band's first CD, A Winter Festival, have been sold?
  17. When did these trivial items first appear in print (in a concert program)? Here's one last not-so-trivial item:
  18. How many individuals and businesses contribute funds to the Concord Band in a typical year? (Hint: Not enough!) To increase this number, and help the Band financially, please write a check for as much as you can afford and return it in the enclosed envelope. If you have no return envelope, simply send your check to the address at the top of this newsletter.

Answers to Concord Band Trivia Questions

(1) John Philip Sousa (2) 47 (3) 85-100 (4) more than 1,200 (5) about 175 (6) July 7, 1975 (7) more than 50 (8) 1975 (9) 5: 4 vinyl LP, 1 CD (10) Artist Walter Tymula was watching a Boston Bruins hockey game (11) 1970 (12) 92 miles [from Mashpee] (13) more than 6,500 (14) 3 (15) 65 (16) about 350 [still some available for you to buy!] (17) March, 1999 (18) fewer than 200.


Tom Taylor with Flugelhorn
Tom Taylor on Flugelhorn

Summer Season 2000

Despite having been rained out of the first and last concerts of the season at Fruitlands Museums in Harvard, the Concord Band enjoyed another busy and successful Summer concert season, presenting four concerts at Fruitlands, an Independence Day Concert at Concord's annual "Picnic in the Park" on the Fourth of July, and concerts in Belmont and Hudson. The themes of this Summer's concerts included "A Musical Trip through the 20th Century," "Marches on Parade," "A Salute to John Williams," and a concert featuring outstanding soloists from the Band including Matt Stevens (tuba), Dave Southard (alto saxophone), Tom Taylor (flugelhorn), and David Puriton (clarinet). Assistant Conductor Christopher Morehouse conducted the program of marches at Fruitlands. The Summer season ended in September, with a concert at the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School football field in celebration of the 365th anniversary of the founding of Concord.


The Concord Band's
digitally-mastered CD

A Winter Festival

Just in time for holiday gift giving, the Concord Band CD, A Winter Festival, will be available from the Band and at area retail stores. Among the pieces on the CD are Curnow's Overture to a Winter Festival (in its premier performance), two Leroy Anderson favorites, A Christmas Festival and Sleigh Ride, three collections of Chanukah melodies, Victor Herbert's March of the Toys, a Christmas Sing-along, and the powerful Russian Christmas Music by Alfred Reed. A Winter Festival, priced at $15, will also be available for purchase at the Band's Fall concert on October 28th and at the Holiday Pops concerts on December 8th and 9th. Please call (978) 897-9969 for information on retail locations.


Upcoming Events

At 51 Walden Street, Concord, 8:00pm.

Saturday, October 28
Friday and Saturday, December 8 and 9


It's Time to Make Your Concord Band Holiday Pops Reservations

Be sure to make your reservations early for the Concord Band's annual Holiday Pops concerts, to be held at 51 Walden on December 8th and 9th. There's no better way to celebrate the holiday season than to enjoy an evening of great music and fun in the festive 51 Walden holiday atmosphere! Concord Band Holiday Pops is a tradition in Concord and sells out early. Plan a great evening out with your friends and neighbors and the Concord Band. Table seating is available at $15 per person ($60 for a table of four) and includes beverages and snacks.

For reservations, please call (978) 897-9969.


This page last updated: 2003/10/26
David Tweed, webmaster
© Copyright 2000
The Concord Band Association.